Skip to content Gene Roddenberry’s Lost Data Recovered from 200 Floppy Disks

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Some 200 5.25-inch floppy disks from late Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s estate have been unlocked revealing about 3 MB of decades old words typed by the Great Bird himself.

Cover photo: DriveSavers’ Mike Cobb and Jim Wilhelmsen with Gene Roddenberry’s old computer and some of the floppy disks whose documents they restored.

After Gene Roddenberry died in 1991, he left behind some 200 floppy disks as part of his estate. The problem? Reading these disks would be impossible without the custom-built hardware and operating system used to create the original files. As the press release explains:

[Roddenberry] used a pair of custom-built computers to capture story ideas, write scripts and notes. Over time, the author moved on to work with more mainstream computers, but kept the custom-built pair in his possession.

Although Roddenberry died in 1991, it wasn’t until much later that his estate discovered nearly 200 5.25-inch floppy disks on which the Star Trek creator stored his work. One of the custom-built computers had long since been auctioned and the remaining device was no longer functional.

DriveSavers, experts in recovering data from all kinds of media, announced today that they have successfully recovered around 95% of the data from those floppies, most of them 5.25-inch 1980’s era storage disks.

Developing a method to read the disks took over three months, and extracting all of the data took nearly a year.

Now, the Roddenberry estate has some 3 MB of previously lost files created by Gene Roddenberry. But, they aren’t saying what exactly is on the disks. “Documents,” is all DriveSavers could say, “Lots of documents.”

As a thank you to DriveSavers, Rod Roddenberry, son of Gene Roddenberry, sent this signed photo of the Great Bird of the Galaxy in front of his old computer (presumably taken back when it was in working order.)

What do you think is on Roddenberry’s floppies? A lost season of Star Trek the Original Series? A new science fiction television series? Details about the backstories of beloved Trek characters? Maybe his family’s secret recipe for biscuits? With the 50th anniversary of TOS happening this very year, maybe we’ll be treated to some updates on the disks’ contents soon!


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